Friday, October 28, 2011

Lost In The Greenwoods

This past Sunday my family , my friend Drea and her beau Manny and myself went looking for John G Schmidt in Green-Wood Cemetary. The five of us trekked through this one section back and forth well five times--maybe more. Yet again , I was rewarded with no headstone. To be fair , I think the head stone exists and has just been eaten by the earth. It would have been really easy for us to miss given that there are no numbers on any headstone there.

Green-Wood is an interesting place. First of all, in the section we were looking in there were a lot of headstones in German. Secondly , it is as hilly and park like as any place  I have been . Minus of course the person six feet under. Most of all , the volunteers there are so nice and so helpful. Drea and I were invited into the chapel even though they were setting up for some kind of event. And we were stopped  as we were leaving to learn about an emergency crypt < 600 people it holds> .

We ended the day with mexican food and The Chip Shop for dessert. A deep fried Mars bars made everything worth it.

In a few weeks we are going to Holy Cross again. I want to put something there for Violet and of course another Mars bar.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

E'valuating Cornelius Curtin

It has been awhile since I done any kind of ancestry research. Don't you love when life gets away from you like that? Last night I decided to check out Griffith's Valuation. Oh ,  I know what you are thinking. How hard could it be to find someone's who's last name is Curtin ? I found four of them. Or one of them four times. Cornelius lived in Abbeyfeale parish in Limerick , Ireland. Twice his landlord was Edward O'Grady. Once it was deCourcey O'Grady. And once it was John Hartnett. I'm guessing these were all the same Cornelius' , but I can't be certain. Here is an interesting thing < though not as interesting as sock thievery> Cornelius' father in law was James Hartnett. I have to wonder if this was an uncle in law or even a brother in law. And this still more interesting...Cornelius Curtin is listed as John Hartnett's landlord. Clealry I'm not getting the finer points of the Griffith's Valuation. Either way though , Cornelius is listed which makes it pretty cool.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Oh Boy! It's Hot!

My new all consuming hobby is freezer cooking. I don't cook the actual freezer, mind you. I cook the food that will fill it.  And , truth be told , it's more of a need than a hobby. Seriously . what normal human being turns on the stove when it's 90 degrees, anyway.

So anyway , while I was covered in flour and dripping in sweat I started thinking maybe I might be a little bit crazy. Correction : it was really just an affirmation. My relatives , however , and yours too did not have air conditioning. If they were lucky they had some body of water to swim in , but you cant do that when you cook. Can you imagine it being th emiddle of summer and stoking the fire. Ok , I'm pretty sure a lot of the time the fire place wasn't used in the summer but there must have been exceptions.

What about visiting family at the holidays? If you moved far away , you probably didn't. None of my relatives , who came here , ever went back to the old country. Some of them came alone. No family here. I don't think I could have done it.

It's very romantic to consider long beautiful gowns and travel by horse and carriage. The reality is it must have made things very difficult. Especially , no ac. I hate the heat. I really do.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

For Grams

My grandmother was born Mildred Annette Fink on 4 January 1926. She was born in Baltimore though  she lived much of her life first in Brooklyn and then Long Island . Her parents were Zelde ( Sadie) Teichberg and Saul Fink(elstein) both from differnt parts of the Ukraine though at the time it was called Austria and Russia(laterPoland). She couldnt cook very well but she made the best soup ever. One day I hope to get the recipes from my Auntie. She also had a couple of crooked fingers due to arthitis. She point straight but would really be pointing to her right. She was , also , one of the most beautiful women I'd ever seen.

She died from Alzheimer's a little more than a year ago.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Annie Craig

Annie Craig was born in Ireland in about 1871. She came to New York in 1884 on a ship called the Anchoria. Along with her came her siblings Charles , Maria and Jane. Neither her parents nor her younger sister Susie accompanied them . She became a teacher for the Brooklyn public schools . She never married. Eventaully , she lived with her sisters Maria and Susie and Maria's husband. She passed away in May 1941 at the age of 69.

What I find really amazing is this woman is my aunt and up until a few days ago I didnt even know she existed. She lived 10 or 20 miles away from me . There are more Craigs even closer to where I live. I am today taking a personal vow to find them.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Grandfather , Joseph Craig , The Great Sock Bandit of the East

So much for assasinating  a British officier.....

The Brooklyn Eagle--1918

The three men arrested by Patrolman Dunn as they were mailing a case from which they had removed a pile of socks and in which they had placed bricks , old iron and other junk at 500 Coney Island Ave. were held yesterday by Magistrate Steers on a charge of grand larceny. Thes socks were the property of The Block Forwarding Company of Manhattan and were on their way to Pier C Jersey Cityto be shipped to Buenos Aires.

The men are Joseph Craig 111 East Fifth St., Fredrick Hartmaan 45 East Fourth St. and Adam Kurlandt 624 20th St.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Michael John Curtin

Michael John Curtin was born 17 January 1914 in New York. His parents were Denis Curtin and Maragret Kane Curtin. He had six brothers and sisters. there names were Cornelius, Margaret ,Patrick , William, Anna and James. He had an artistic nature. He walked with a limp because he was hit by a car. He married Lillian Craig on 1 October 1939 at the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn , New York. They had two children Kevin Barry ,named for the young freedom fighter ,and Bruce Richard. Michael died on 6 September 1967 from a heart attack. Michael John was my grandfather.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Killeen Schmilleen

It has been a busy week. Not only have I not had time for my poor lonely blog but I havent even done and research this week. Easter was a good time. We went to my husband's aunt's house. Not only is she is fabulous cook but ganze mishpocheh < thats yiddish because I have no idea how to say it in Portuguese>  was there.

My has-really-great-pictures-cousin told me that Maragret Kane's mother's maiden name was Killeen. In 1930 there is a Killeen family living on Sackett Street where the Curtins lived. This is definately gonig to require some more investigation.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Got Nothing

I grew up with very little family. Genealogy has changed that for me in more ways than one. I have found cousins. Cousins have found me. And there is my growing "genealogy family". Plus  there are all these dead folk who never ever disagree with me! Could I get any luckier?

When I first started , I had closed my business and was looking for a cheap hobby to keep me busy for a little while.  I know some of you seasoned genealogists are laughing when you hear cheap, but the truth is Ive spent very little money. Ok  , is an expensive , but other than that , I only spend what I can afford to spend. There is something strangely delicous about having to wait a month to send away for a birth certifcate. I confess I haven't gone across the pond though. My expenses might wrack up then.

I have , however, spent an inordinate amount of time posting on different message boards ,etc. First there is Buckets full of last names to post to.  Then , havent found any relatives there yet but I know I will. Curtin .org and on Facebook.

In addition to all of these there are websites to read ..that will lead me somewhere else.  I could never forget That would be like forgetting to eat the chocolate pudding in my fridge.

What has genealogy done for you and what are your favorite sites?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Joseph Craig ..The End

Joseph Craig was born in February 1895 in Broolyn ,  N.Y. He lived on Elliot Place and had three brothers , Edward , Charles and William and a sister Anna. He work first as a truck driver . Then as a motorman for BMT. He married Violet Flynn in about 1916. they had three daughters , Lillian , Anna and Violet. On December 4  , 1938 he passed away from visceral congestion.

He never shot a British officer. However , there is a possibility that the story is somewhat true. Joseph's mother was Mary Cameron. Her father was Joseph Cameron. Cameron's lived only an hour and half from Belfast . I was told Joseph <Craig> was from Belfast. It very well could have been him. There is always fighting going on in Belfast. On an interesting note , Cameron is not at all Irish.. it's Scottish. So , Joseph Craig mystery is solved only to open a Cameron can of worms.

I want to thank my new found cousin for providing me with most of the this information.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Joseph Craig .. oy vey!

Joseph Craig is my personal brick wall. At least until about 10pm tonight when I got an unexpected email.

What family lore tells me:
He was born in Northern Ireland, shot a British officer, fled to Scotland and then to the US. Once in the us he got a plum of a job as a trolley car driver. A hard job to come by. He married Violet Flynn and they had three daughters.

What I know:

He doesn't appear in the census until 1920. However , if one is to believe the census he was born in NY. On the 1920 census he is listed as a truck driver. It's on the 1930 census he is a trolley car driver. After , 1930 he disapears again.

The email:

Edward Craig's , Joseph's brother , grandson's wife emailed me .  She did not give me a lot of information just yet. The letter was more of an introduction. I'm hoping she writes back tomorrow. I am beside myself.

How oh how am I going to sleep tonight?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are

I look forward to Fridays. Sure , it being the start of the weekend has something to do with it but, mostly it is because of  Who Do You Think You Are?. I started pursuing genealogy before this show came to the U.S. but it really pushed me over edge. For me it's about how they trace their families journies. Celebrities are interesting and which one of has hasn't wished for Brooke Sheilds heritage every once in a while but, the truth is I find Kim Catrall's and Gwenyth Paltrow's familes just as fascinating. I find my own family just as fascinating. Immigrants that came here due to the blight and due to pogroms. A family that started out near abouts Harlem , moved to Brooklyn , and finally Rockaway Beach. A Rough Rider and a tiny tailor from Russia/Poland/Ukraine or whatever that part of Europe is being called today. As my great grandma would say the ganze mishpocheh. Today is the season finale for Who Do You Think You Are? For me it feels like the begining . 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

William Flynn : the Sequel

In 1860, William Flynn , a laborer was worth $100. In 1861 , he and Mary had a second daughter, named Mary. By 1870, William owned a liquor saloon and was worth $1000. By 1890 , both the bar and Mary were gone and William worked in a carpet store. By 1900, William was a widower working as a gardener and living at the Craigs as a boarder. In 1910, he disappears from the census. I'm sure deceased.

William was a man that came from nothing, worked hard, maybe got lucky and aquired a small amount of wealth. By 1910, most of it was gone. My Flynns had a burial plot  I don't even think they owned and a house on Greenwood Lake. I've rumours of a real estate agency. Whatever there may have been at one point in time , I'm sure it's gone now. 

I'm Speechless

Ok not really. You have no idea what it takes to leave me speechless. However , I may have found Joseph Craig. Kinda. I decided to take a stroll through the censuses to find out what became of my greatgreatwhatevergrandfather William. In 1900 , someone William Flynn's age and with a similar wedding anniversary abouts lived in Middleton , NY. Here is the creepy exciting thing..he lived with Alexander Craig. Craig is not that common a name. Alright, it's more common than some names I've heard but it isnt as common as Flynn. Probably not even as common as Curtin. Alexander , an immigrant from Northern  Ireland , was married to Margaret. Alexander was a shoemaker with his own business. He owned his home. Alexander and Margaret had at least four surving children Matthew , Hugh , Anna and Samuel.  These could be my greagreatwhatevergrandparents , but I doubt it. However , there is a much stronger possiblity that these are my cousins or even an aunt and uncle. Joseph just got a hairsbreath closer.

late night addition: Alexander's parents names were Mary Rice and.......Joseph Craig.. oh boy!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I Heart Henry

I finally did it. I made the trek to Brooklyn, to Holy Cross and I was rewarded with no headstone. My heart fell into my stomach. While I knew she was there, I got no closure from it. What I did get were some pictures of headstones of potential relatives. The above monument is one with several  family names on it.. John J. , Ethel and Cecelia. I'm wondering if both these plots were purahsed together since Violet needed to get permission from the plot owner to be buried there. She is also , alledgedly buried with her grandparents , who are not in the plot with her and not in nearby graves.

I have to say Holy Cross is a beautiful cemetary, I understand why years ago people used to have picnics in cemetaries. Once my head clears and Im over the disappointment I will go back there, just to look around if nothing else. I'm also going to submit the pictures I took to find a grave. Hopefully , someone will benefit from them. 

I just want to take this moment to say my husband is the sweetest man on the planet because he almost always accompanies me on these adventures.               

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Come Out , Come Out Wherever You Are

After a couple of years believing  Violet Flynn Craig was not buried in a Catholic cemetary , I have discovered where she takes her eternal rest ; Holy Cross Cemetary in Brooklyn. She is buried with John Flynn , Christina Flynn , William E. Flynn , Thomas C Newton , Dorothy Newton amd Josephine Day and Francis Perchard. I have no idea who they are. I did do a little research on Josphine. She was born in 1891 and married Frank Day. They had at least 3 children Frank Jr, Robert, and Marion. Harry Schmaker , their brother in law, lived with them. They lived in Hudson County , New Jersey , where my greatgreatwhatevergreat grandfather amd his brothers/cousins purchased land. I love when things tie up so neatly . I still don't know how Josephine is related to me but I'm sure she is. I will definatley  be heading over to Holy Cross soon. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Something About Mary

Mary Fleming was born about 1830- 1835. She married William Flynn and had several children. One of which was my great great grandfather , John J Flynn. This is all I'm certain of. The rest are possibilities.

Scenario #1

Mary was born in England to Irish parents. In the census, her and William took she was listed as a NewYorker. In the census John J took she was listed as Irish born. No Irishman worth anything would be willing to admit his wife/mother was born in England. Saying she was from New York or Ireland is a plausible fabrication. She would have  moslty likely come over during the blight making her a Catholic.

Scenario #2

Mary was actually born in Ireland and may have known William in Tipperary . She may have been listed as a New Yorker due to an enumerator mistake. Again it would have been likely she was a Catholic  


Mary was born in New York. Her parents were from Ireland. This would mean her parents arrived here in 1935 at the latest making her an Ulster-Scot. A Presbyerterian. I think this is the mostly likely because there are alledgedly scads of Presbyeterians in my family, even if Ive never met a single one.

In all three scenarios Mary's parents were from Ireland and all of her children were born here. I remember my Nana telling me we had family in Ulster and we were a "little bit Scottish". The Ulster-Scots were in fact Scottish not Irish . I need a world account on Ancestry.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Scrapping and Genealogy a guest blog by Katherine

So my friend Kerrie was talking about her genealogy search and how she wanted to make a scrapbook. I love scrapping and offered to help. I had no idea this offer of help would suck me in to search for dead people. It started with me mentioning that I had no information about my fathers side of the family. Kerrie being the good friend and enabler that she is said oh it's fun and easy to search for your family I will help you. Little did I know that she would also suck me into becoming a guest blogger about my search.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Things Can Always Be Worse

I've just had "one of those weeks". Nothing seems to be going right . To add insult to injury, for now, I don't have an Ancestry.Com account. What will be come of Violet Flynn and Margaret Curtin without me? Oh wait , they're gone already , I suppose they can last a month or two without me. 

Desperate times call for desperate measures. It seems , besides all the wonderful print resources my library has to offer I can also remote in to several ancestry programs. None of which I like as much as Ancestry.Com , but still , a viable substitute at the moment.

Who Do You Think You Are?  is on tonight. Im cheering up already.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Grass: It's Whats For Dinner

William Flynn was born in 1822 in Tipparey Ireland. He worked as a laborer until he left for the US in 1849. He sailed across the ocean in a ship called "Princeton" that left from Liverpool. He met and married Mary Fleming of New York. They has 4 surviving children; Annie , James , John J. and Edward. William applied for citizenship in 1853. His brother Thomas witnessed his naturaliztion papers. At some point before 1873, William and his brothers purchased property in Hudson County, NJ. He worked as a carpenter until he was at least 68 and stayed in the same home for at least 10 years , which is a miracle for my family.

Having left Ireland in 1849, I'm sure the potato blight had something to do with it. Seeing neighbors vomiting up the grass they has eaten must have been disconcerting. Seeing your family do it must have been like taking a bullet to your head. Today's economy is awful. Somedays, we have eggs for dinner. That's the worst it gets. I cant imagine eating grass. Can you?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I have a strong suspiscion that Violet's father was a Rough Rider. As I was looking through newspaper clippings for information on something or other, I ran across an obituary for Catherine Bunker from Merrick. You may be thinking at this point "so what". I know I would be thinking that. Catherine Bunker lived around the corner from the house I grew up in , long before I was born. The story goes , before the land was developed , her house was broken into. The thieves , teenage boys , stole a sword and an urn with her ashes. They ran into the woods where my house now is and started fighting over the sword. They urn with the ashes went flying into the stream and that is now where Catherine lies. Ok , so you are still thinking "so what". Mr. Bunker was a Rough Rider. That sword was his Rough Rider sword < ok thats not the name of it>. Here is the "what"...while Merrick and Brooklyn are quite a bit aways from each other and quite overpopulated now at the time they were both  rural. My great great  grandfather John J. Flynn , assuming he was a Rough Rider  , probably knew Mr. Bunker. And while I know the story of Catherine's ashes I did not know Mr. Bunker was a Rough Rider until my father told me a few days ago. It seems lately everywhere I turn it leads me to the Rough Riders.

Here is a record I found of John J. Flynn's service:

Flynn , John J. - Age 28 years. Enlisted , May 2, 1898 at New York city , to serve two years; mustered in as private, Co. A , May 17 , 1898; mustered out with company , November 15, 1898, at New York city.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Who Inspires You?

Someone asked me who inspires me. There are lots of them. Lots of people who keep me going on days I want to stay in bed. Lately , though, it is Violet. I only remember meeting her once and of  course there is that sad little picture . but Violet starts and ends most of my days . She was the third of seven children. As far as I can tell , she was closest to her sister Lillian. In fact, she named her first daughter after her. She married Joseph Craig in about 1916. I don't know how long the marriage lasted , but they did have three daughters. By the time my father was born she was divorced , at least in spirit. She took my father on many dates with her.The only 5 year old in the neighborhood  having lobster dinners. She died in 1972 , but not before going blind from diabetes. I'm  pretty sure she is buried in the Evergreen Cemetary in Brooklyn. For me , genealogy gives me certain satisfication I cannot explain . In a way , it bring my relatives back to life , if only for a moment or two. I hope when I'm one of those relatives someone brings me back to life.

Happy Valentine's Day to those who inspire me who are still living.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Nanny Violet

After playing around with my computer last night , my  husband got my family tree softrware to work. I breathed a sigh of relief while rifling through my relatives. All in all it was a pretty eventful evening. I ordered prints from shutterfly . Pictures I  mostly stole off a cousin's facebook page <thank you Geri>. I ordered a marriage certifcate for Violet Flynn and Joseph Craig. I hoping to find out where Joseph came from. I , also worked on my ancestry book. I have no big plans for this weekend other than hitting  craft store to get some adhesive.  The picture is of Violet and my father. It is ,sadly, the only picture I have of her.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My computer ate my family

Ok , not really. However , my family tree software seems to be corrupted. All over a little teeny tiny ged file.Which ,  incidentaly , I still don't know how to use. My scrapbooking day was cancelled due to the passing of a good friend's father and my free trial at is over. On a brighter note , I did get the scrapping supplies and started putting together an ancestor book <just a touch too late> , i've totally gotten a good friend into genealogy and I made a kick-butt cake.

Today , is Superbowl Sunday. I'm going to be forced to watch football but I'll be dreaming about dead ancestors .  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I'm supposed to have genealogy goals, they tell me. I started looking over my mess of notes. I noticed a lot of missing data. I haven't really been doing anything wrong , but I have been doing it imcompletely. So in an effect to complete my genealogical mess I'm going to do a few things. First , I'm going to find out where my great grandparents are buried. My second goal, is to go on an ancestor hunt , in Brooklyn , taking pictures of the places they lived. And ,lastly, I'm going to create a genealogical scrapbook to share with people so they will stop looking at me like I have six heads. All of this of course is subject to change.

For now here is a picture of Margaret Cain/Kane.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Violet , John and Christina ..Oh my!

I found my Dutch ancestors with relative ease and my Curtin ancestors were handed to me on a silver platter < thank you Margaret Curtain at> so it only stands to reason that I was going to have to work for the rest of them. My great grandmother was Violet Flynn. Her parents were John J. Flynn and Christina X. I know what you are thinking. Who would name their child X? Believe it or not that was not the name she was born with. I realized if I were ever going to find out Christina last name I would have to bite the bullet and send away for Violet's birth certificate. I was able to fill out a form online and give a credit card number and in 4 to 6 short weeks they would mail me the certifcate. Well , the stars must of all been in the right place because that certificate arrived in less than 3 weeks. I tore the envelople open like a little kid. I could not wait . Christina's last name was..Schmidt. Woo hoo! I danced around my kitchen like an idiot until another thought overtook me I needed to know Christina's parents. I always knew I was German but now I KNEW I was German. I sat down at my computer desk and thought " how am I ever going to find out about them" . Then is occurred to me John and Christina marriage license. I'm in trouble now.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Curtin Strong

I am a lucky girl. Not just because of stuff like chocolate. I am a lucky girl because  I am a Curtin. Those who share my last name descend from a relatively small part of Ireland split between County Kerry  County Cork and County Limmerick < with  a few straglers from Clare>. There is even a Curtin website.

My great grandfather Denis Curtin came to America between 1895 and 1899. He met and married Margaret Cain. Together they had seven children Cornelius , Margaret, Patrick, William, Michael, Annie, and James. Denis was a street railway repairman. This was his second marriage. The first was to unknown Donegan. They had a child Joan. Both passed away in a "crash" . I have no idea what kind of "crash".

I probably know more about my family history than the average person new to genealogy. I know that most of it starts in Brooklyn and ends in Ireland-Germany-Russia-Austria-Holland. I know that despite the fact that I cannot find a single non-celtic name within my Irish history I am certain I am Scandanavian.

Mostly, right now I am certain its time for chocolate